05/10/2012 1:08PM

Hollywood Park: American Act tries to turn tables on Drill in Laz Barrera

Benoit & Associates
American Act, winning the Harry Henson, may have an advantage racing on Hollywood Park's Cushion Track over rival Drill in Saturday's Laz Barrera.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Drill and American Act were separated by a nose in the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita in February. The rematch occurs in Saturday’s $100,000 Laz Barrera Memorial Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park, a race that trainer Jack Carava says could have a different result.

“It was one inch either way,” Carava said of American Act’s loss. “I’m hoping, knowing that we like the surface, we can turn the tables on him.”

Carava’s confidence stems from American Act’s win in the Harry Henson Stakes for 3-year-olds over six furlongs here on April 26. The race was originally scheduled for turf but transferred to the main track because of rain.

American Act drifted out badly on the turn in that race, but recovered to win by a nose over Senor Rain. There will be no room for such errors in the Laz Barrera.

Garrett Gomez rides American Act for the first time in the Grade 3 Laz Barrera, which is run over seven furlongs and has drawn only four entrants. The Barrera is the third race on a nine-race program, and is not part of the pick six.

Trainer Bob Baffert has two runners – Drill, who has won two graded stakes; and Gun Boat, who was second in an optional claimer at Santa Anita on April 22, his only start this year. Boompa, a maiden race winner in his debut on April 7, is the outsider in the field.

Drill followed his win in the San Vicente with a second, as the 3-5 favorite, in the Northern Spur Stakes at Oaklawn Park on April 14. A winner of 3 of 10 starts, Drill has won 3 of 5 starts around one turn, but is winless in five starts around two turns. He was 10th in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs last fall.

“He’s been a disappointment every time I started him around two turns,” Baffert said. “He’s a sprinter.”

Drill won the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity over seven furlongs last September, a race in which Gun Boat was fourth. The April 22 race is Gun Boat’s only subsequent start, a half-length loss. Rafael Bejarano, who rode American Act in the Henson and Gun Boat on April 22, is riding Gun Boat in the Barrera.

“Gun Boat’s race was good,” Baffert said of the comeback.

American Act has won 2 of 6 starts for owners Howard and Janet Siegel.

After the San Vicente loss, American Act finished seventh in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes over 1 1/16 miles at Santa Anita in March, his only start around two turns. Carava said American Act was a tired gelding before that race.

“He wasn’t acting quite right,” he said. “This time he has all his energy. I’m not too worried about it.”

In the Barrera, American Act may have the lead, though Carava is not committed to that plan. Gun Boat has also shown speed, while Drill and Boompa are more likely to race from off the pace.

“With a four-horse field, it can be hard to figure out,” Carava said of the tactics. “I think it’s where Garrett feels comfortable. The good thing is we know he’ll finish.”

Lazaro Barrera Memorial Stakes (G3), Post Time: 2:03 PT Saturday

Purse: $100,000; 7 furlongs





ML Odds


Gun Boat

B. Baffert

R. Bejarano




B. Baffert

M. Garcia



American Act

J. Carava

G. Gomez




G. Mandella

J. Talamo